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Hardware/booting problem

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I've been having a nightmare with my computer recently - it was triggered by a bad installation of Zone Alarm and has since deteriorated until it won't even show the BIOS options screen.
Basically my Windows installation got corrupted (I was told that one or more registry files were missing). I knew that I had to re-install windows but when I booted from an XP CD it got about 5 minutes in, gave me another blue screen saying that there was a memory problem at a hex address and to restart my computer. When I re-started the computer it doesn'y show anything - just a black screen. If I leave it a couple of hours, I can get to the BIOS screen etc. but when I try to install windows again I get the same problem. Can anyone tell me what the problem is? I thought it might be the RAM (I upgraded last year), so I took out the new module and it worked - but only for a while. Now I'm getting exactly the same problem again.
If anyone has any ideas I'd really appreciate some help.
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    motto - Just get-er-done

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I don't know if this will help but on a AMD 2600 piuter i had the first XP install crash. Then the computer would not boot from the cd drive. Then i could'nt get to the bios. I even tried the WD reformat utility that wrote all "0"s to the drive. I was so frustrated i was ready to toss the puter out the window. A friend mentioned that Microsoft made a exe file that made a 6 floppy disk set of boot floppys. So i tried it. Downloaded the file from MS and ran it. Started the computer and got to the #3 floppy disk and i got a blue screen. I did'nt know what to do then. So i made a second set of boot floppys off the same file. This time the computer booted to all the disks and started installing XP from the cd.

If you have a floppy drive, try it. If you can get to the bios switch to floppy boot first and if you dont have a floppy drive install one( if possible).

For all XP home versions


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No matter how messed up the hard drive may be there is no way it can affect booting to the BIOS. The most likely causes all involve hardware components: the power supply or RAM. A good memory test is Memtest86+. It comes in an ISO image for a CD and must be burnt using Roxio, Nero or the free CDBurnerXP. Make sure the optical drive is listed before the hard drive in the BIOS device boot order.

If you can't even get to the BIOS and you have installed more than one stick of memory then leave one stick of memory installed at a time until you can boot to the BIOS. When booting to the BIOS is sucessfull then verify the devices boot order and run Memtest by leaving its disc installed and rebooting. It will start and run automatically. Let it run for 2 complete passes to verify the integrety of each stick of RAM. Don't assume that being able to boot to the BIOS means that the RAM is good.
I suppose if the hard drive fails in a really catastrophic way it could lock up the IDE bus and prevent the system from POSTing (power on self test). You may want to pull off the data cable to the hard drive and run Memtest without any possible hard drive interference.

Edited by WinCrazy, 25 June 2006 - 02:12 PM.

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